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We may not see Harman audio in 2018 Galaxy devices after all

A group of Harman shareholders have filed a class suit against the deal. Now the question is: “will there be Harman audio in Galaxy devices next year?”
By
January 13, 2017

A group of shareholders from Harman International have filed a class suit against the deal. Now the question is, “Will there be Harman audio in Galaxy devices next year?”

Back in November, Samsung announced it would be acquiring Harman in a whopping $8 billion all-cash deal. Harman is an American consumer electronics and automotive company, perhaps more known for its popular JBL audio products. This acquisition was particularly exciting because it confirmed – just like other major electronics companies – that Samsung would be widening its focus to include automotive technologies. Driverless cars are shaping up to be the next big thing, and Samsung wants to dive into auto software and component arena.

But also, following the announcement, a Samsung executive hinted that Harman’s famous audio technology could make its appearance in 2018 Galaxy devices. Jonghwan Park, executive vice president and head of Samsung’s car components division, said that if the company were to employ Harman’s high-end audio technology in its smartphones, the first model could come in 2018.

In fact, this isn’t the first time that Harman’s audio technology made an appearance in portable gadgets. HTC and Huawei are among many companies who have collaborated with Harman to bring Harman/Kardon sound to smartphones and tablets.

If Samsung were to employ Harman’s high-end audio technology in its smartphones, the first model could come in 2018.

Well, the bad news is that some Harman shareholders aren’t too happy about the acquisition. According to them, the terms and conditions of the contract are inadequate and unfair:

These provisions, particularly when considered collectively with the board’s inherent conflicts, substantially and improperly limit the board’s ability to act with respect to investigation and pursuing superior proposals and alternatives, including a sale of all or part of Harman.

And they have filed a class suit against the deal in the US, claiming that they will exercise their right to vote against the deal. Although the $112-per-share offer by Samsung was a 28 percent premium over Harman’s closing price on the 11th of November, the group states this is a clear devaluation of the company.

While Samsung’s original plan was to finalize the deal by November of 2017 according to The Korea Times, the lawsuit may have a negative impact on the company’s roadmap. Harman is expected to hold a meeting with its shareholders in the first quarter of this year to decide on the deal, but if it goes sour, it could mean that we won’t be seeing Harman audio inside Galaxy S and Note devices in 2018 after all.

Does audio quality in your smartphone matter to you? Would you want to see Harman’s audio technology in your Galaxy device next year? Let us know in the comments below!